It takes time, effort and patience to establish a business of any size and sector. Locally-based ventures have the advantage, however, of targeting a demographic or area that you (hopefully) know quite well.
There are many ways to market a local business, but here are a few pointers to steer you in the right direction. Let’s take a look at cost-effective marketing tools for your venture:
Google and Bing both offer free online directory listings, whilst paid services like Yelp and The Business Desk can garner their own interest on your behalf. Making your business easy to find is paramount for succeeding against the competition, especially in the early stages.
2. Direct marketing
In the digital age, it’s important not to forget about traditional, cost-effective options at your disposal. As a local business, you can take advantage of physical marketing materials like flyers to distribute around homes, or roll-up banners for public events.
3. Video channels
Aiming for a dedicated local following doesn’t mean ignoring tools that bigger enterprises find useful. Setting up a YouTube or Vimeo channel can do wonders for your brand, showing you to be innovative, personable and forward-thinking.
4. Free consultations
Giving free advice over the phone or in person is brilliant for converting prospects into customers as a service provider. By offering consultations on your website, you can turn a casual conversation into a sale for just half an hour of your time.
Networking groups and events provide valuable face-to-face time with other local business owners. Comparing experiences, services and potential referrals will foster a sense of ambition between all of you. Just don’t forget to return the favour if someone gives you a lead to new sales.
6. Business cards
When meeting customers and prospects in person, a business card is essential. Quick and cost-effective to produce, they will distil your message down to a couple of lines, with contact details that make it easy for people to follow up.
7. Social media
Social media marketing is no longer an optional extra for local businesses. To build a network online as well as off, identify two or three platforms that suit you best, and update them diligently with locally-oriented posts. Remember Facebook is for B2C (Business to Consumer) ventures and LinkedIn can help with B2B (Business to Business), while Twitter covers both!
8. Email marketing
Sending newsletters to your contacts is a no-brainer for keeping people engaged. See our recent blog, 7 Steps to Creating Fabulous Newsletters. There are many ways to capture the interest of subscribers, from competitions to exclusive offers and events.
9. Local SEO
A local business has the advantage of tailoring itself to a specific crowd. Using the phrase “graphic designer in Manchester” will give you much more visibility on Google than simply “graphic designer”, so capitalise on this in your SEO strategy.
As someone moving towards a viable business model, you’d be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed by the many paths facing you. Take these tips on board, and you’ll be flying in your local area in no time at all. If you need an extra source of business know-how, don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll discuss whatever marketing issues you’re facing.